Destination – Basque Country – Spain

San Sebastian

Sitting upon a hill top, gazing towards Miramar Palace in San Sabastian. Basque country, not Spain; or so we are told (it is Spain really, just don’t tell the Basque people I said that). Views one direction towards the Pyrenees Mountains. The other direction takes in a small bay and harbour to die for. A tiny marina is devoured by the Old Town, restaurants every step ranging from Cafe/Bars to 5 star Michelin. San Sabastian’s statue that overlooks the beautiful city is a caricature of Jesus. – I will focus on San Sebastian on the next post.

We are in love with Spain.

How did we get there? Epic move across France

France will hold a special place in our memories. 2013 saw Mandy, the kids and I backpack and drive through a great deal of France. However, on this trip, France was not our focus, and we had decided to move through it the easiest way we could. This included……Packing the bikes into bags, catching two trains, a subway, carrying all our belongings and the %%#@$ bikes from one end of the Earth to the other, finding our new home in Hendaye and rebuilding the bikes. That all sounds relatively easy doesn’t it…

In the middle of Paris, we arrived at one train station and had to transfer everything to another train station via the subway. OK. We were then told that the subway wasn’t running and we can’t take bikes on the provided bus. So logistics kicked in and showed us that we don’t have enough time to build the bikes, find the next train station, ride to the other train station, pull them apart again and jump on the next train. Hmmmmm, car, taxi, uber…. After some slight freaking out, we discover the subway is again up and running. Problem solved. Phew!

The situation is further complicated by the fact you must have the bikes in bags for the fast trains. Thus, you must ‘carry and not roll’ everything with you. Two touring bikes with all our camping and cooking equipment and clothes to stay warm in subzero temperatures is a lot of weight. Combine this with confusing train signage within the tunnels of a Paris train station, can create a further issue mentally, physically, physically and physically.

We were struggling.

OUR SAVIOURS were Dorian and Cyrille! They offered to help us carry all our gear right through the train station and escorted us to the platform we needed for the last leg of our journey. I can’t thank them enough. I think we would still be there and would not have made our train connection if it wasn’t for them. Dorian and Cyrille are very strong and extremely generous, wonderful people. Thank you again.

France (Hendaye) to Spain (Donostia / San Sebastian)

Having zipped to our new destination, why not jump back on the bikes, load them up with everything and hit a local cycle training route. It does have a 447m climb in the middle however the view was spectacular. A small day ride, only being 35ish Km.

Grind up, Fast down

Yep, it was granny gear all the way up. The crest being half-ish way along the trail was a perfect place to stop for lunch. Unexpected building ruins, found at the top were a distraction and offered us some time for recuperation. The building structures are remaining from some of the earliest know civilisations/inhabitants from this area. Downing our baguette, apple, lots of water and the remaining Oreos, also gave us time to look at the 360 degrees views. Cantabrian Sea on one side and mountains ‘Aiako Harria Parke Naturala’ the other. What a view.

Needless to says, the trip down didn’t take anywhere near as long. Speed limit was 50Km/hr. I’m not saying that I broke this limit…….but ;-).


    • Hi Geoff. Food was totally worth the trip. And the sites were fun too. Yeah, logistics suck. But with the help of some friendly French people made it possible.

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